Non-BJP states object to methodology of NPR
Rajasthan chief secretary DB Gupta said he and the representatives of a few other states raised objections to a few questions to be asked by enumerators to people during the NPR exercise.Updated: Jan 18, 2020 04:30 IST
A few states that are not ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday objected to some aspects of the new National Population Register (NPR) at a meet convened by the Union home ministry to discuss the house-listing phase of Census 2021 and NPR.
While some states have protested the NPR, West Bengal and Kerala have said they will not participate in the exercise as it is a stepping stone to a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC). The states have said that the combination of the proposed nationwide NRC and an amended citizenship law is divisive in nature. The government has said the objective of NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of all usual residents.
While the West Bengal government said it was not participating in the conference of state chief secretaries and other officials to discuss the modalities of NPR, Kerala joined the meet and said the state has put on hold the exercise and it can be part of the process only after the concerns of the state are addressed, an official said on condition of anonymity.
Rajasthan chief secretary DB Gupta said he and the representatives of a few other states raised objections to a few questions to be asked by enumerators to people during the NPR exercise.
“We said certain questions in NPR are impractical, like questions related to the birth place of parents. There are many people in the country who even don’t know what was their birth place. I don’t know what is the purpose of such questions and we have told the meeting to remove such questions,” he said after the meet.
“Such questions have been asked earlier also but now there is an effort to link the individual’s place of birth with his or her parent’s place of birth. But they said the answer to this question is not mandatory,” Gupta added.
Home secretary Ajay Bhalla told the state representatives that individuals need not declare their Aadhaar, passport or driving licence when NPR is updated, a senior official who did not wish to be named said. Bhalla, who was addressing representatives of states at the two-day preparatory seminar on Census-NPR 2021, told state representatives declaration of these data was complete “voluntary”, according to the official. A second senior officer said for the first time ever, India is planning to introduce “self-enumeration” that will allow individuals to register their personal details online for Census 2021.
The Registrar General of India (RGI) has told states that the Centre is planning to allow “self-enumeration” through an online procedure for the population enumeration phase – the second phase of the census, the official said on condition of anonymity.
“Self-enumeration has been cleared by the Centre and initial meetings have been held at the State-Level Census Coordination Committees,” the official said.
Census in India is broken into phases – in the house-listing-phase, amenities available in the household like kind of fuel used for cooking, internet facility, availability of toilets, access to banking, etc. are documented. The population enumeration phase is next. About 28 data points including educational qualification of individuals, nature of employment and migration data are gathered in the second phase. The first phase will begin on April 1 and will end on September 30, 2020. The second phase will be held early next year.
The RGI is developing an online application protected through a one-time password that allows individuals to log on the Census website and fill in their details, a third official said. Self-enumeration will not, however, do away with the enumerator. “The enumerator will go and check whether the individual has indeed filled in the details,” the officer said, asking not to be named.